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Peppers

There are thousands of varieties of peppers; the best way to sample many kinds is to grow some yourself. From the mildest bell to the hottest habanero, the growing techniques are the same and not at all complicated. Native to Mexico and South America, peppers enjoy the long seasons and hot, sunny weather of these areas. They don't usually require staking or other maintenance aside from watering, weeding, and fertilizing.

Habit
Upright and bushy with strong stems. Varieties range from tiny miniature chiles to blocky bell peppers.

Days to Harvest
Peppers can be harvested in as few as 55 days for green and immature, or up to 95 days for red and ripe.

When to Plant
For a head start, plant seeds indoors six weeks before the last frost. Peppers can be planted outdoors when frost is no longer a threat and the soil is reasonably warm.

Light
Full sun.

Soil
Moist, rich, and well drained.

Watering
Water regularly, but too much water will result in much milder hot peppers.

Fertilizing
Fertilize weekly with an organic fertilizer throughout the season.

Pest problems
Aphids can be knocked off the plants with a strong stream of water from the hose; flea beetles will eat small holes in the leaves but won't bother fruit.

When to Harvest
May be harvested very young or allowed to fully mature, but some varieties are bred to be harvested at a certain ripeness. Check your seed packet for information.

Recipes
Grilled Steak with Poblano and Onion Saute
Stuffed Marinated Hot Red Cherry Peppers
Green Pepper and Tomatillo Salsa